Woman overboard

By Martin Adam

A woman has tragically plummeted to her death in an apparent suicide attempt on board a cruise ship.

The individual who has yet to be named was travelling on the Celebrity Cruises owned ship Celebrity Solstice as it embarked on a return leg of its Mediterranean journey from Santorini to Naples.

Just before 9 pm Greek time on November the 6th, the woman was sighted purposefully falling from deck level fourteen, three hours after leaving port.

The Celebrity Solstice (Courtesy of http://www.cruisebusiness.com)

Buoys lighting the area of sea in which the female fell into were deployed from the sides allowing the ship to gradually slow down, make a turn and return to the original point of course the jump was made from.

Dramatic rescue attempts followed as the liner’s crew searched for the missing person over a ten hour period in an operation coordinated with another ship alongside navy and coastguard rescue under spotlights. Greek authorities are understood to have relieved the liner from rescue attempts at 3:45 am.  The search proved to be in vain and a body was not retrieved from the waters. However crew have identified the passenger assisted by evidence captured on CCTV cameras, and a thorough search of cabins available on the vessel after residents were asked to return to their rooms.

Passengers and crew were alerted to the situation when a call was relayed over the Tannoy system urging staff on all decks to immediately proceed towards port side.

Patricia Adam who was situated on deck number fifteen at the time detailed that on her level “a dozen or so holidaymakers rushed over to the side, frantically trying to spot anybody struggling in the waters”.

The worrying incident disturbed a number of passengers to some degree. Adam summed up the consensus mood on a trip of a life time turned sour.

“Everybody was shocked after something so unexpected; you could say it was a sense of surprise amongst the two thousand odd passengers.”

“The two members of service staff I personally spoke to shared my sense of concern for the wellbeing of the missing passenger.”

Celebrity Cruises released the following statement in regards to the incident.

“The ship’s Captain immediately turned the ship around, marked the position on the ship’s Global Positioning System (GPS), notified other ships in the area, and alerted Greek authorities, as well as the FBI.”

“The Greek Coast Guard immediately assisted with air and sea searches. Shipboard closed-circuit camera footage captured the guest going overboard and hasbeen made available to authorities.”

Testimony from passengers generally commended staff on their swift and professional response. Celebrity’s Guest Care Team is providing support to the family, and Celebrity Cruises is cooperating fully with government officials.

This was the fourth man overboard situation since the year 2000 on a Celebrity brandendorsed cruise. A trend of suicide at sea aboard cruise liners has marred the industry in recent times.